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Have you been to Old Town of Lijiang? Share your experiences!
Lijiang is situated in the remarkable Yunnan-province, in the Southwest of China. I went to Lijiang via a very long bustrip through the mountains. Nowadays, there even seems to be an airport.
The little city certainly deserves a stay of a few days from tourists that are interested in culture and history. The food also is recommendable: I still remember the baked cheese with sugar (?!!).
Frederik Dawson (Netherlands):
Lijiang, a town in northwestern Yunnan with its beautiful culture of Naxi people, unique old wooden houses along the canals, picturesque gardens and breathtaking surroundings, is truly one of a real gem of this region but also maybe one of the worst examples of tourism industry development in China. Lijiang has two faces, in daytime; the Black Dragon Pool Garden is the place to see, its Five Phoenix Hall in the middle of the pool with the Jade Dragon Mountain as the background, is one of the iconic views of Southern China. While the town is beautiful with Naxi architecture which has some details different from mainstream Chinese and along the street is full of interesting handicraft shops, and donít forget to go to the top of the hill behind the town for absolutely gorgeous view.
After sunset, Lijiang is brightly lit with red lanterns and spotlights, and I have to admit that Lijiang by night is very pretty; however, the town is full of clubs and bars with really loud Chinese music and dancers, some show is traditional or modern, but some is quite dirty. Almost everywhere is quite chaotic and packed with diners and fun seekers, the scene that you never expected to see in UNESCO protected zone! In my opinion Lijiang is maybe one of the worst examples of tourism industry development in China, and from my observation, Lijiang by night has more tourists than in the daytime, sadly that they donít come to admire fascinating culture, but for fun in clubs scene.
Although the authenticity of Lijiang is maybe lost forever as many parts of the town are already changed, the ancient buildings become souvenir shops, boutique hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars with Naxi cultural show for tourists, the town is still have some place to admire especially in the suburbs of the old town and the Black Dragon Pool Garden where local Naxi are living. All in all, Lijiang is a great place to visit at least to see how China sells minority culture for tourism.
Date posted: August 2011 Durriya and Babar Jhumra (Canada and Pakistan):
We went there for 4 days - and ended-up staying for 2 weeks and that too was not enough. We LOVED IT. At some time in our life - we want to live there for as long as we can. Its beautiful, lovely, friendly and the weather is just perfect (most of the times). One of the best places we have ever visited in all my travels.
Date posted: July 2010 Sara Dyer (Australia):
I have just returned from Lijiang (April 2009) and am still mesmorised. Like one of your other commentators, I could easily live there. No more hectic, crazy modern world.
Picturesque, haunting, friendly, warm -- I could go on forever. I shall certainly return.
Date posted: April 2009 ():
I was born in Lijiang,its a really nice place,Welcome !
I went to Lijiang in 2006 and stayed there for on and off one week. If the word "heritage" means something inherited, then Lijiang is not. True, it is a beautiful town, but the old town has long been gone and all the buildings were built in certain ways to attract tourists. They may look old, buy most of them are not older than 30 or 50 years. Maybe it's good to have Lijiang as a heritage site to boost the pride of Chinese people, to see what they could have had if there were no cultural revolutions and wars. But still, it's not a truely "heritage" site.
My husband and I stayed a week in Lijiang in April 2006. We were blown away. Over looking the obvious hyjacking of parts for tourism (which amusingly enough were massive tourist groups of Chinese), the authentic architecture, winding lanes and hauntingly beautiful and friendly Naxi people was a refreshing and endearing change from the suffocating busyness of the major tourist areas. Our accomdations in the old town were inexpensive and excellent, the food an adventure, but always delicious and we were lucky to connect with an Naxi artist whose wife spent many hours with us, translating and showing us areas which we might have otherwise overlooked.
LiJiang is the most beautiful and attractive town i have ever been .It is a place that i like to go back and I will love to retire there for the rest of my life. Time seems to have frozen there: The 800 year-old architecture, the Jade Mountain, The Naxi Pictorial language,the rich culture ,the minority tribes with traditional customes, the age-old drainage/drinking system, the fine climate.....IT is unique porfolio that I cannot forget. Despite buying a few books and taking hundreds of photos for my memoirs, I know i will be back there again.
( Commericialization could have marred its originality to a certain extent, but what else can i complain to be able to immerse myself in the lost paradise.....)
I happened to find this website, and I am excited for reading people's dicussion about Lijiang. You know what ? Because I am a Naxi lady comes from Lijiang. The old tomn is part of my life, because I grew up there. My grandparents' house is very close to the square market. Oh, now, I am in the U.S. for studying and I could not wait for going back Lijiang!
We were in Lijiang in 2005. Although crowded with tourists, its still such a nice place. One can escape the crowd by just turning to a back street-there are many and all are beautiful, most with the clear stream running by. The water is so clear that so many giant gold fish live there. We were there in May. Many tourists then but not really wall to wall people.
I would stay years in LiJiang in the 90's. I would stay a month per year in LiJiang before 2002. I would stay one day in LiJiang basically because it is a gateway to other destinations after 2002. And I won't stop in LiJiang any more after 2006.
There are many tourists, and the "many" is not the "many" that foreigners can imagine unless you are used to the density of Shanghai or HongKong. Don't forget, LiJiang is a small town, it is not an internationalized metropolitan.
I don't understand why the officers think the protection of the town is good. If you went to LiJiang 10 years ago and compare to nowadays, you would understand why I said this. LiJiang is now a theme park, a park without the old charming soul that once attracted me so much. The town is dead.
I now really doubt the function of UNESCO. Probably it just happens in China. World Heritage is just a title to gain more tourism dollars. But what happens to the heritage? Nobody cares.
Date posted: July 2006 Robert Peters (USA):
Lijiang has to be one of the nicest small cities in China. It is true that there has been an increase in tourism there, but you can escape from the tourists easily enough by escaping down some of the backstreets (which are more interesting anyway). The architecture of the city is great and the Naxi people carry on with their lives just as they have been for centuries. You should absolutely trek Tiger Leaping Gorge, very near Lijiang. The trek runs through the gorge created by Yulongshueshan (5500+ meters) and offers great views of the Yangtze river at its wildest. It can be tackled by a moderately fit person in two days. In the Fall there is an explosion of spiders along the trail. We had to walk by (and sometimes under!) huge webs with dozens of beautiful orange and green spiders in them, which was a bit unnerving, but wonderful at the same time.
Date posted: February 2006 Gloria (U.S.A.):
I was in Lijiang a few weeks ago. The Old Town square has become quite popular with lots of tourists, shops and restaurants with more Westerners than Chinese. But a few minutes away from the tourist filled spot, and the city is breath-takingly exquisite. Lijiang is very tranquil and a cool oasis away from the mad rush of commercialization and industrialization that is taking place throughout the rest of China. Lijiang is definitely a "must visit" before it gets swallowed by the growing commercialization of China.
Lijiang is one of my favourite cities in China. Although Lijiang is rather touristy, the surrounding countryside is magnificent. Lijiang makes an excellent base to bike around to the many villages, seeing traditional lifestyles and enjoying the misty atmosphere of the surrounding countryside.
Lane Li (China):
I have been Lijiang twice, which luring me all the life.
Small Stone Bridge, Flowing Clean Water, Swimming the goldfishes, ...
I will go there if i have another chance!
I went to the Old Town Lijiang in November 2003. It was quite an experience, especially a warm and friendly comfort from local Naxi people.
When you see the city in the first minute, the over-crowded tourists might turn you down a little. Once you having stayed long enough, horsed round those cannals and bridges, and tryed Baba cake and local food, you will love this town.
I will travel back to Lijiang.
The winding cobblestoned streets in the old town are just waiting to be explored. you truly experience the magic at dusk, when the busloads of daytrippers with flag-bearing guides who clog up the narrow pathways during the day depart for their comfortable hotels in the new town. then, it is truly a pleasure to sit and watch the world passing by, next to the gurgling streams and shady walkways. i went there during summer, at the height of tourist season and could not get a single hotel accommodation. then a family asked me if i wanted to stay in their home for the night. it was very spartan, just a room in a noisy household, with the entire family sharing a squat toilet, but that was the place i really remembered from all the places i stayed in yunnan.
Lijiang was a beautiful city. We stayed in the Old Town Hotel and spent much of our time in Old Town. The city was beautiful. Go see Black Dragon pools while there at the top of the city. Take the side trip to Tiger Leaping Gorge. We flew straight into LJ and then bussed into old town.
Our fave restaurant for dinner was Lamu's and the Guangfan for breakfast (great coffee) Make sure you go to the market.
Have you been to Old Town of Lijiang? Share your experiences!